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Apr 2023

Everything you need to know about women's hair fall

Posted By Suborna Fermi Posted on Apr 05, 2023

Hair loss or hair fall is a genuine concern for all of us. Bald spots and widening of hair parts can be the signs that you are losing more than 120 hairs per day. In this stage, it is really important to consult with a dermatologist.

There are a variety of different types of hair fall as well as potential causes for each. Even while it is possible to stop hair fall, the results are not very promising. For this reason, if you notice sudden or prolonged hair loss, you should see a dermatologist as early as possible.

In general, hair grows on nearly all skin surfaces, with the exception of the eyelids, lips, palm of hands, and soles of feets. There are mainly three stages of human hair growth, such as:

  • Anagen phase: Anagen phase is basically the hair growing stage, which can last for around two to eight years. Nearly 80% to 90% of the hair on your head has grown in this stage. The anagen phase of your body’s shorter hair such as eyelashes, eyebrows, and body hair lasts for around one month.
  • Catagen phase: Catagen phase is the transition stage, where your hair follicles shrink. This stage takes around two to three weeks.
  • Telogen phase: The telogen phase takes around three to four months, and by the end of this stage the hair begins to fall out.

What is hair fall in women?

Every woman nearly sheds 50 to 100 hair strands everyday, which is quite normal. Hair fall and hair regrowth are two processes that occur naturally as a part of our body’s internal balance. But the problem occurs when the balance is disrupted.

How common is hair loss or fall in women?

Almost every woman experiences a loss of hair sometimes over the course of their life, so hair fall is not just a problem that affects only men. Female patterned hair loss is the most common reason for hair fall which may affect 7 out of every 10 women.

What are the types of hair fall or hair loss?

There are three main types of hair loss, such as:

  • Anagen effluvium: Anagen effluvium is a type of hair loss that occurs due to medication which poisons growing hair follicles. An example of the medication is chemotherapy.
  • Telogen effluvium: This type of hair loss occurs when a huge amount of hair follicles reaches the telogen phase, in which hair begins to fall off.
  • Female pattern hair loss: Androgenetic alopecia is commonly known as female pattern hair loss. In this type of hair loss, you may notice thinning of hair on the sides and top of the heads.

Which women are at a high risk of hair loss?

Any woman at any age can experience hair loss. However, there are certain risk factors of hair loss, such as:

  • Women who are older than the age of 40 years
  • Women who just gave birth
  • Women who have gone through certain medications including chemotherapy
  • Women who use hair products which are high in chemicals
  • Women who have entered their menopause period

What are the common misconceptions about hair loss in women?

There are so many myths and false beliefs about hair loss widespread throughout the world, and none of them are even close to being true. Some of the myths are as follows:

  • You are losing hair because you use too much or too frequent shampoo.
  • You are losing hair because you had your hair colored.
  • Wearing wigs and hats can cause hair fall.
  • You may lose hair permanently because of dandruff.
  • Stress can cause continuing hair loss.
  • Shaving your head will encourage double hair growth.
  • Standing on your head will increase blood circulation which stimulates hair growth.
  • Brushing your hair too much and too frequently will make your hair more healthy.
  • Intelligent people experience more hair fall than others.

What are the common reasons for hair loss in women?

The major cause of anagen effluvium hair loss:

  • Anagen effluvium type of hair loss can occur due to the usage of hazardous substances, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and certain medication.

The main causes of telogen effluvium hair loss includes:

  • An abnormal thyroid gland, or thyroid disorder
  • Hormonal changes caused by birth control pills, pregnancy and menopause
  • Extreme physical stress, such as weight gain, weight loss, anemia, illness, surgery and labor
  • Extreme mental stress, such as anxiety and depression
  • Certain medications, such as high blood pressure and gout medicines.

The major causes of female patterned hair loss includes:

  • Genes are one of the main reasons for female patterned hair loss. This can cause hair thinning on top of the head.
  • Age is also an important reason for hair loss in females. Female pattern hair loss may result from hormonal changes that happen as women age.
  • Menopause can cause female patterned hair loss, because the estrogen levels begin to decline during this stage.

Apart from all these reasons, there are some diseases which can also cause hair loss in women. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune skin condition that results in patchy hair loss on the head and sometimes other body places. However, this type of hair loss is not permanent.

What are the signs or symptoms of hair loss in women?

  • Hair breakage
  • Daily hair fall
  • Wider hair part
  • Missing hair patches
  • Scalp visible through hair

If you experience these symptoms, this could be a sign that you are having hair loss. It is advisable to consult your dermatologist as soon as possible.

Which doctor should you contact for hair loss?

Any skin related problems are treated by dermatologists. So if you are shedding more hair than usual then you should consult a dermatologist.

How is hair loss diagnosed?

If you experience excessive hair fall, hair breakage or hair thinning, then your doctor would perform a physical test and some diagnostic tests to confirm diagnosis.

  • Your doctor may ask you to gently pull your hair to see how much hair you are losing.
  • Your doctor may suggest certain blood tests, such as thyroid tests, sex hormone tests, vitamin and mineral level tests.
  • Your healthcare provider may ask you to go through a scalp biopsy, where they would examine a small piece of your hair scalp.
  • Your doctor may also examine your scalp under a microscope.

What questions may your doctor ask to diagnose your hair loss?

Your doctor may ask about your daily habits, which includes:

  • Which products do you use on your hair?
  • What type of hairstyle do you often do?
  • What type of food do you generally eat?

Your doctor may ask some questions about your health history, which includes:

  • What medicines do you take on a daily basis?
  • What is your food diet?
  • Are you stressed these days?
  • Have you experienced hair loss before?
  • Does anyone in your close family suffer from hair loss?

Other questions your doctor may ask:

  • For how long have you been shedding hair?
  • Have you lost more hair than usual lately?
  • Have you been losing hair in patches on your scalp, brows, hands, and legs?
  • Have you noticed you are shedding hair occasionally or constantly?
  • Are you experiencing more hair breakage?
  • Has your hair growth changed recently?

So these are all the questions your doctor may ask depending on your daily habits, health history and others.

How is hair loss treated?

Typically, healthcare providers treat hair loss on the basis of the underlying cause. Treatment of hair loss may include:

  • If your hair loss is due to hormonal changes and stress then no treatment is needed. This type of hair loss will eventually stop in the course of time.
  • If your hair loss is due to harmful chemicals and hairstyles, then the only way to stop this is to stop doing things that cause it.
  • If your hair loss is due to nutritional deficiency then your doctor may ask you to take multivitamins and biotin supplements.
  • To treat female patterned hair loss, doctors usually prescribe Minoxidil. However, it is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women. It is also not recommended to those who are planning to conceive. Use as your doctor has prescribed.

There are also other supplements to treat hair loss, but they are approved yet. The medicines are:

  • Estrogens
  • Steroids
  • Light treatments
  • Finasteride
  • Spironolactone
  • Prostaglandin analogs

Always remember that premenopausal women should not be using any of these medicines without contraception. Make sure to use these medicines under doctor's guidance. The other hair treatments of hair loss may include:

  • Hair plant surgery is a widely known hair treatment. In this treatment a small piece of scalp with hair follicles will be taken from the back of your head and will be placed on the bald areas. There are few side effects of this treatment which includes folliculitis, surgery infection, and shock loss. Hair transplant is usually a costly surgery.
  • Protein rich plasma injections are used to stimulate hair growth.
  • Microneedling is also used in the treatment of hair loss.

What are the side effects of hair loss treatment?

Nearly every medicine has its own side effects. The side effects of minoxidil may include scalp Itching. dryness and scaling. If any of these occur, then please talk with your dermatologist.

Also, you may notice hair growing on your forehead and cheeks. For this reason, make sure to wash or wipe off your face after applying minoxidil.

How can you prevent hair loss?

If the cause is due to age, heredity or an underlying disease, then the prevention may not be effective. You can prevent hair loss caused by harsh chemicals and tight hairdos, by simply staying away from them. You can also prevent hair loss by having a healthy eating style, rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Considering that smoking also contributes to hair loss, stopping smoking can help to prevent hair loss.

How can you deal with hair loss?

The following tips can help you to cope with hair loss:

  • Try massaging your head as you shampoo to encourage blood flow to the hair follicles and scalp.
  • Getting a shorter haircut like layers, can give your hair a much fuller look.
  • Use shampoo and conditioner that can give volume to your hair. Also make sure the shampoo is sulfate free.
  • Make sure to use products that are suitable and right for your hair type.
  • You can also choose to dye your hair, which can give it volume and make it appear more fuller.

When should you see a dermatologist?

Consult with your dermatologist as soon as you notice hair loss. Keep in mind that treatment will be more successful if you receive it sooner rather than later.

What question should you ask your dermatologist?

  • What is the reason for my hair loss?
  • What is the type of hair loss I have?
  • Is my hair loss permanent?
  • What is the treatment of my hair loss?

Hair loss can make you feel distressed, whether it is from age, heredity, stress, or a disease. But the good thing is, there are so many treatments available to treat hair loss. Also, some types of hair loss can be reversed to some extent. Therefore, consult with your doctor as soon as you notice excessive hair fall on a daily basis.